IceDogs come out flat
The Niagara IceDogs dropped an 8-2 decision to the North Bay Battalion Saturday at home. Photo by: VIVID EYE PHOTOGRAPHY
It’s been a tough and disappointing 24 hours for the Niagara IceDogs.
A day after dropping a 4-3 overtime decision at Kingston versus the lowly Frontenacs, the IceDogs didn’t fare any better versus the cellar-dwelling North Bay Battalion Saturday at home.
The IceDogs fell behind early and never recovered as they dropped an 8-2 decision in Ontario Hockey League action.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it but I think the No. 1 thing, the compete level, the battle level, was not there,” IceDogs head coach Billy Burke said candidly. “It’s frustrating because you know these guys have it in them but it was a just a pathetic effort.”
It was a weekend the IceDogs could have realistically expected to come away with four points. Instead, they could only manage one point versus two teams who had a combined two wins.
“It would have been a great weekend to turn it around. I thought we would have for sure,” Burke said. “I thought the first couple of shifts we did and then the wheels fell off and guys became individuals, and every time that happens, it just goes backwards.”
Christian Sbaraglia made his first start since being assessed a five-game suspension Sept. 26 versus Oshawa and showed some signs of the layoff permitting three goals in the first period and eight overall on 35 shots.
Sbaraglia was unable to complete either of his first two starts of the season — he was injured in his first game and ejected in his second.
Trailing 7-2 after two — it was the first time North Bay held a five-goal lead heading into the third period since 2000 — a change in goal wouldn’t have been a surprise, but Burke didn’t see it that way.
“Sbrags was going to ride this one out,” Burke said.
Burke was adamant is was more than an off night by Sbaraglia which led to such a lopsided loss.
“It was a full team effort, top to bottom,” he said. “It was leaving him out to dry on a lot of chances and I just thought, again, we didn’t compete nearly as hard as we should and if we’re not going to compete in games, then we’ll compete in practice.”
Burke said there is no magic formula to get back on track.
“We have to stick to it. There’s no light switch. You just have to work your way out.
“We’re going to go through video pretty thoroughly and it’s going to get uncomfortable, but that’s the only way to get better.”
Ice cubes: Anthony Agostinelli, AJ Cook, Josh Rosenzweig and Andrew Bruder did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Simon Rose, Niki Korpialho, Nick King and David Campbell were scratched for the Battalion . . . Centre Mason Primeau (Las Vegas) is the lone NHL draft pick on the Battalion . . . The IceDogs honoured the 1971 and 1974 St. Catharines Black Hawks before the game.
Battalion 8 IceDogs 2
BPSN Star of the Game: North Bay’s Luke Moncada with two goals.
Niagara IceDogs: Phil Tomasino (7); Jake Uberti (3).
North Bay Battalion: Moncada 2 (3, 4); Mason Primeau 2 (3, 4); Mitchell Russell 2 (3, 4); Matthew Struthers (2); Braeden Henderson (1).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Joe Vrbetic (37), By North Bay on Christian Sbaraglia (35); Power plays: Niagara 1-for-5, North Bay 2-for-4; Penalty minutes: Niagara 12, North Bay 12.
Up next: Home to Erie Thursday, Oct. 17.
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